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Adult Book of the Month

New Irish Short Stories edited by Joseph O'Connor
Published by Faber and Faber in 2011

This collection is dedicated to David Marcus who edited the previous two volumes of Irish short stories from Faber, entitled The Faber Book of Best New Irish Short Stories 2004-05, and The Faber Book of Best New Irish Short Stories 2006-07.

In his introduction, Joseph O’Connor says that he has tried to reflect something of the variety of Irish writing in his choice of stories for this compilation. He has placed the works of internationally acclaimed award-winning authors such as William Trevor and Emma Donoghue alongside the works of talented new writers such as Belinda McKeon - whose debut novel will be published this year -and previously unpublished writers Angela Power and Elaine Walsh. The collection offers stories set in Ireland written by authors born here and from writers born elsewhere but living here now. Some deal with the realities of contemporary Ireland while others are set in an older, more secretive place. Some stories are set among the Irish abroad and other do not allude to Ireland at all. O’Connor says that there are no easy laughs in the collection with some dark and bleak stories but he maintains that, despite the current gloom, “sometimes, in the Irish sentence, the greatest thing we have ever invented, we glimpse what we might yet be.. …..I believe that the writing offered here has something of the clamorous music of Ireland now, the strangeness and yet the beauty of a country that is passing through adolescence, one glance on its painful childhood, another on the horizon, poised somewhere between denial and hope.”

New Irish Short Stories shows the short story to be a thriving form in Ireland and one that should continue to be celebrated and encouraged.